Farmingdale mayor defends himself as additional council members resign
FARMINGDALE – One week after borough officials began filling
three council seats that were left vacant by a series of resignations, the
three remaining Farmingdale Borough Council members have submitted letters of
Council President Kathryne E. Baghsarian and council members
Karen L. Corallo and Erich Schneider have submitted letters of resignation. All
three are Republicans.
These resignations come after Councilwoman Kathleen M.
Farrington, a Democrat, resigned effective July 17 due to personal reasons, and
Republican councilmen William E. Donovan and Anthony J. Infante submitted their
own resignations, both citing ongoing conflicts with Republican Mayor John P.
Currently Richard Gessken, who was appointed to fill the
vacancy left Farrington, is the council’s lone member.
Infante and Baghsarian’s terms are set to expire on Dec. 31.
Both were seeking re-election.
A council meeting that had been scheduled for Aug. 7 was cancelled.
In addition to the council resignations, Donna Phelps, the
municipal clerk, and Stephen Roe, the code enforcement officer, also tendered
their resignations effective last week.
Roe declined to comment on his resignation.
Phelps, Baghsarian, Corallo and Schneider did not return calls
requesting comment at press time.
Borough Attorney John O. Bennett previously told Greater Media
Newspapers that the chairman of the municipal Republican Party, who Bennett
identified as Morgan, has 15 days to name potential replacements for the
departed council members.
Typically, upon receiving the names, the council has an
additional 15 days to take formal action.
Morgan told Greater Media Newspapers that Bennett has contacted
the New Jersey Division of Local Government Services seeking direction on how
to address the remaining council vacancies, considering the fact that there is
now only one sitting council member.
“I believe, according to statue, we have to, which we did, send
a letter to the governor’s office explaining that the council seats are
vacated,” Morgan said.
He also defended himself and said communication issues were due
to council members going to Phelps in lieu of reaching out to him.
“If they came to me, I would converse with them, but they
didn’t, so unfortunately they are telling you they had difficulty communicating
with me because of that reason,” the mayor said. “It’s unfortunate that because
the borough clerk had resigned, the council would follow; I thought they were
leaders, obviously they are followers. If they had the town’s best interest at
heart they would have done it differently. It’s unfortunate for the town.”
According to the borough’s Internet website, Infante and
Donovan were appointed in 2008 to fill unexpired terms on the council.
Infante was elected to a three-year term in November 2009.
Donovan was elected to a full term in 2011. Farrington was also elected to a
full term in 2011.
Baghsarian was elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2009. A few
months after her re-election, she was chosen by her colleagues to serve as
council president, a position she was reappointed to in 2011.
Schneider was elected to the council in 2007 and re-elected in
2010, while Corallo was appointed in May
2011 to fill an unexpired council term.
Following the resignation of Phelps, deputy clerk Kim
Farrington is currently performing the duties of the municipal clerk.